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The Oster Conspiracy of 1938 was a proposed plan to assassinate German dictator Adolf Hitler, the leader of Nazi Germany, if Germany went to war with Czechoslovakia over the Sudetenland.

Background

The plot was organised and developed by Lieutenant Colonel Hans Oster of the Abwehr; he drew into the conspiracy such people as Ludwig Beck (a former Chief of Army General Staff), Colonel General Walther von Brauchitsch (Commander in Chief of the Army), Franz Halder (Chief of the Army General Staff), Admiral Wilhelm Canaris (Chief of the Abwehr), and Erwin von Witzleben (Commander of the Wehrkreis). First, Count Hans-Jürgen von Blumenthal would lead a storm party into the Reichkanzlei and kill Hitler. It would then be necessary to neutralise the Nazi Party apparatus in order to stop them proceeding with the aggression against Czechoslovakia.

Therefore, in addition to these military figures, the conspirators had contact with Secretary of State Ernst von Weizsäcker and the diplomats Theodor and Erich Kordt. Theodor Kordt was considered a vital contact with the British on whom the success of the plot depended; the conspirators needed strong British opposition to Hitler's seizure of the Sudetenland.

However, Neville Chamberlain, apprehensive of the possibility of war, negotiated interminably with Hitler and eventually conceded to him. This destroyed any chance of the plot succeeding since Hitler was then seen in Germany as the "greatest statesman of all times at the moment of his greatest triumph".

Aftermath

The plotters survived to become leaders of the German Resistance to Hitler and Nazism during the Second World War. Oster himself survived until April 1945, when he was executed following the discovery in Canaris' diaries that he had opposed Hitler since before the war.

References

  • Parssinen, Terry M. (2001). The Oster Conspiracy of 1938 : The Unknown Story of the Military Plot to Kill Hitler and Avert World War II. HarperCollins. ISBN 5559440590.  
  • von Schlabrendorff, Fabian (1994). The Secret War Against Hitler. Westview Press. ISBN 0813321905.  
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